We're just a week away from Thanksgiving. Maybe some of you have been put on turkey duty for the first time in your life. Maybe some of you have been in charge of the bird for a little while now, but you're looking to step your game up a little bit. No matter what the case may be, we're down to just 7 days for you to dial in your game plan for next Thursday. And I'm here to tell you that game plan needs to involve cutting out the spine of the bird and laying it flat on your cooker, otherwise known as the "spatchcock".
There are a few reasons why you'd want to spatchcock your bird as opposed to the traditional method of cooking it. The first is more of personal preference. To me, I think the spatchcock just presents better. I think it's a little more visually appealing than staring directly into the asshole of a turkey with its legs tied up. Call me crazy but I've just never been crazy about that look, despite how delicious you can make it appear.
I just think the spatchcock is a little easier on the eyes. And since you eat with your eyes first, that's pretty important.
Now outside of personal preference, the real benefit to the spatchcock is that it helps the bird cook more evenly. If you're cooking the turkey for your family this Thanksgiving, the last thing you want to do is make everybody sick. To avoid that, you need to make sure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 160-165° at the deepest part of the breast. The thing about turkey, however, is that it is notoriously dry. And it's super easy to take your turkey past the point where it's safe to consume to where it's borderline cardboard. Maybe the breast takes a little longer than the legs, maybe the legs take a little longer than the breast. Either way, that bird isn't cooking evenly and you're running the risk of ruining part of it while you wait for everything to come up to a safe temperature to eat.
When you remove the spine and lay everything flat on your cooker, then everything is getting done right around the same time. That way everything is coming off as juicy and tender as possible without having to dry the shit out of the turkey while you wait for everything to cook at different rates. If you've been having issues with dry ass turkey for the past few years, go to the spatchcock and it'll cure all your woes. It's a cheat code.
Lastly, there's the vanity aspect of things. When you spatchcock your turkey, it's something different. It'll take people by surprise. They'll think you're way more advanced in the culinary arts than you actually are. In reality, all you need here is a pair of sharp poultry shears to cut out the spine. That's literally all it takes. But you spatchcock the bird and all of a sudden everybody thinks you're some master chef. It took an extra 3 minutes of work, but now you're the star of the show. And I mean…c'mon…who doesn't love that at least a little bit?
It looks good. You feel good. And it tastes good. There's literally zero excuse to not spatchcock your turkey this Thanksgiving.
P.S. -- Quick warning here to close this out. If you purchase a turkey from the grocery store, more often than not that turkey has already been sitting in a brine solution. So there's no need to ever brine or inject those turkeys with anything else or else that shit is going to be way too salty. If you grab a bird from your local butcher or poultry shop, then brine away.